Although California-born, Julie Felix found herself in Britain smack dab in the middle of the folk revival in the mid-'60s, and with her serviceable voice and exotic good looks, she was soon a poster girl for the U.K. scene itself, releasing an album a year for Decca Records between 1964 and 1966, all three of which are collected here in this two-disc set. Felix wasn't Joan Baez
or Judy Collins
, however tempting it might be to make those comparisons, and her albums sound a bit like live sets tracked in the studio, with little embellishment, giving them at times a kind of a those-were-the-days documentary feel. Felix's faintly husky voice sounds fine but gets a bit generic, and the same could be said of her guitar playing, and she sounded pretty much like a thousand other female folk singers on the scene at the time trying their hand at "The Riddle Song." But what Felix did have was a fine ear for recognizing a good contemporary folk song, and these three LPs are full of songs by the likes of Bob Dylan
, Ian Tyson, Tom Paxton
, Phil Ochs
, and Bert Jansch, among others, as well as several selections from the Woody Guthrie
songbook. Nothing here really sets the world on fire, but Felix rises well above the ordinary on versions of Jansch's "Needle of Death," Tyson's "Someday Soon," and a jaunty take on Donovan's "To Try for the Sun," and she's never less than pleasant on more traditional fare like "The Maid of Constant Sorrow" or "The Riddle Song." In the end, though, she's more of a flashback to a particular time and place than she is an enduring folk icon, which doesn't diminish what's here, but it hardly makes it essential, unless, of course, you really want to hear "The Riddle Song" one more time. A timepiece.